FLYING Magazine

Where to next? Sometimes this is the hardest question to answer as a pilot and something that Fly-Inn.com is helping to answer, according to Carollyne Carmichel, the website’s founder and a longtime aviation enthusiast.

“Fly-Inn [provides] short-term rental accommodations for pilots only,” Carmichel said. “Every property owner has to offer three things. One is a way to land, whether it’s a runway, grass strip, a pond for floatplanes, or even a helipad. Number two, there must be a way to secure your aircraft once you’ve landed. And number three is the most important because how many times have you landed and had no way to get around? So, every host is responsible for saying right in the listing how you’re going to get around.”

Kenya Hodson, vice president of the website and Carmichel’s daughter, noted that soon the website will feature accommodations from around the world.

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“The point of Fly-Inn.com is to take the guesswork out of planning,” Hodson said. “You can now go all over the country because you don’t have to worry about where to stay, how to secure your aircraft, or how to get around once you land. This makes it really convenient for pilots to go on adventures and enjoy places they have never seen before.”  

Most of the site’s more than 50 current listings have direct runway access. But some are within a short drive from a local airport.

Fly-Inn has been several years in the making and was first unveiled to the aviation world at the Buckeye Air Fair in Arizona and Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, earlier this year.

“What makes us unique [from other short-term accommodation listing sites] is that we market only to our tight-knit community of pilots,” Hodson said. “We are very protective of our exclusive community. We have everything from campsites to homes with a lazy river in the Florida Keys, to mansions with their own private strips, to homes inside hangars. A quick look through our listings shows there’s something for everyone and more hosts are adding listings all the time.

“This is the third version of the website, and it took a long time to get this one done. There’s so much legal stuff behind it. It took years and a team of lawyers and developers to get everything buttoned up tight so that we can provide the service. We have all these different things that we’re going to keep adding to make it better and better, and our motto, one of our slogans people love most is, ‘You squawk, we wilco.’

“With that mindset, we are constantly integrating what our hosts and guests ask of us. We aim to continually improve the technology and to progressively add more features that will make general aviation travel planning easier and more fulfilling.”

Carmichel said that the reason pilots are so excited about Fly-Inn is that they have been waiting for this service for a long time. The inspiration behind the website was that flying adventures with her husband in their planes were limited. She really wished there were more options than just flying to the nearest FBO just because they offered a courtesy car.

Her solution was an online repository of short-term rentals she could turn to make traveling fun and interesting again.

A look at some of Fly-Inn’s current listings. [Courtesy: Fly-Inn]

“For hosts, it’s absolutely free [to list their properties on the website,] and we really want to provide this service to everyone with short-term accommodations for pilots,” Carmichel said. “Hosts receive several benefits when they list a property on Fly-Inn.com. First is the clientele. Because guests have to be able to fly and land an aircraft on these properties, we market to pilots only. Being a pilot requires a certain mentality. We all understand each other here and share a common mindset. This is a major benefit to hosts because you get a pretty good feel of whom you will be trusting your home to..

“Second, hosts have a variety of potential ways to earn. The platform allows hosts to list unique offerings besides accommodations. Hosts offer toys like boats, ATVs, and even other aircraft. Some hosts offer a fully stocked pantry and refrigerator when the property is in a remote location. There are so many possibilities.

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“Third, hosts get to contribute to our community by contributing to our pool of listings. More listings mean more places they can fly to themselves. Fourth, hosts get to make friends. They find that they instantly have things in common with their guests simply because they are aviators.”

Lastly, hosts have a dedicated point of contact with Fly-Inn. Carmichel and her right hand, Hodson, strive to personally be on every phone call with their hosts and guests and make sure everyone feels included, and above all, heard.

The duo is looking forward to all the other aviation events they are attending throughout the year as an exhibitor, including EAA AirVenture in Wisconsin, the International Seaplane Fly-In in Maine, Triple Tree Aerodrome Fly-In in South Carolina, Wings and Wheels in Utah, and Texas Antique Festival of Flight, to name a few.  

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